Best bartering items when disasters strike featured image

Best Bartering Items When Disasters Strike

Catastrophic disasters can occur at any time of the day – whether it is a hurricane that wipes out the shoreline or a storm that destroys your home. You could also be at the receiving end of an explosion and not know how to deal with it. Hopefully, you survive it with your limbs intact.

However, irrespective of who or what we attribute these disasters to, the conclusion remains that in today’s world the possibility of disaster striking looms large over our heads and hence, the need to prepare yourself to face such situations is the need of the hour.

To protect and defend yourself against such catastrophes, you should always have a stockpile of certain necessities at hand at all times so that they can be traded in exchange for other items.

After all, when money becomes useless or worthless, people will rely on trade to get their hands on basic essentials to survive. Hence, stockpiling some necessary items will enable you to be as prepared as you possibly can while at the same time allowing you to barter these essential items in exchange for things you need but don’t have.

Best Bartering Items to Face Disasters

Here are some of the things you should stockpile in your home so that you are equipped to deal with the situation if ever a disaster strikes.

Non-Perishable Foods

When grabbing food to stockpile, you need to keep in mind the calories contained in it, the shelf life, mode of preparation, and other such factors. For instance, if you have to evacuate on foot, having tins of canned food in your backpacks will certainly weigh down on you. Keeping all this in mind, here are a few food items that it will serve you well to carry.

Non-perishable foods for bartering
  • Brown Rice – Having proteins, calories, vitamins and minerals, this non-perishable food has a long shelf life of about three to six months, making it an effective survival food. However, it does take a while to boil so it may not always be feasible.
  • Dried Beans – Whether it is black beans, kidney beans, or any other kind, beans contain large amounts of calories, vitamins, and minerals. Although they usually come in a big package, they do not weigh much and hence, are a better alternative to canned beans.
  • Energy Bars – Since there are numerous types of energy bars for you to choose from, it isn’t hard to stock high-calorie bars. These energy bars contain large amounts of nutrients and proteins. At the same time, you can also stock up on chocolate bars as these are known for perennially boosting a person’s mood as well as being a good source of energy and loaded with calories. You will need your energy during a bug out situation or disaster and you can be certain that in a crisis situation, the bars will be in high demand.
  • Sea Vegetables – At the time of a disaster, it will not be easy to get your hands on fresh produce. This is why sea vegetables are a good alternative. They come in the form of powder or pills and are very beneficial for your immune system. They are loaded with vitamins and nutrients and possess antifungal and antibacterial properties. So you want them in your stockpile as they help in healing wounds and tissue repair. Imagine how sought-after they will be!

Not only will you be able to use these foods yourself, but you can also barter some of them to get your hands on items you may need at that moment.

You might also find interesting our article about bartering after SHTF.

Alcohol and Tobacco

While this isn’t really an essential, it is highly likely that in the case of a disaster, people addicted to nicotine or those that use it as a stress buster will desperately want to get their hands on it. However, if the markets have collapsed, there will be a scarcity and nicotine addicts will be willing to trade essential items just so they can have a smoke to calm themselves down.

Alcohol great item for bartering

At the same time, any crisis situation will create a greater demand for alcohol, particularly at the time of an economic collapse as people will be flocking onto the streets looking for ways to drown their worries and stress away. So stockpiling liquor will be a good bartering choice. Remember, getting hard liquor is smarter than wine or beer as you will have to give out lesser amounts due to the higher alcohol content

Essential Antibiotics

Most people don’t stock up antibiotics as they may not always be aware just what medication they will need. While this is certainly true, here are some of the best survival antibiotics that you should stockpile.

Antibiotics important to store
  • Metronidazole – This antibiotic is useful in treating anaerobic bacteria that is found in the intestine. It is also useful in tackling bacterial vaginosis, diabetic foot ulcer, ulcers on the joints of feet, meningitis and other infections. However, this treatment should be avoided by pregnant women and children as well as nursing mothers.
  • Ciprofloxacin – If you get a urinary tract infection, respiratory tract or prostate infection, this is the antibiotic to come to your rescue. It is also the best antibiotic in case of an anthrax attack. Even the treatment of infectious colitis involves this antibiotic in combination with Metronidazole.


If you have had an EMP attack or a massive earthquake, your power grid will be down for a while. Your ability to survive during this time will depend not just on bare necessities, but on having ‘long-term’ essentials. Tools are an essential component that you should be looking to stockpile. Whether it is blades, hatchets, or axe heads, you need to stock for the long haul, and people will need these tools to get their places back in shape or build emergency shelters. You can benefit by trading your tools for other essential commodities that you may be in need of.

Tools great items to barter


Although this might seem like a commodity that is always around, during an EMP attack or a solar flare that wipes out communication systems and electronics, you are going to have a hard time getting your purified water to last. This is why it is essential to have a large inventory of drinkable water. It will perhaps become the scarcest commodity in the event of a disaster. If you watch the show The Walking Dead you will know this.


However, don’t just rely on your stockpiles for your water source. Also, stock up water filters, water purification tablets and household bleach that you use to purify water if your stock runs out. After all, in a disaster, there will be no way to get purified water from a faucet!

Toilet Paper

While everything is going down around you, you would certainly want to hold on to your dignity by maintaining some level of hygiene. After some time, people will run out of toilet paper and the moment this item becomes difficult to find, people will start to give almost anything in exchange for a roll of toilet paper. So stocking up this commodity will allow you to barter it for more important items.

Toilet paper good item to store

Other Essentials

 Some other essentials that you should stockpile to barter in times of catastrophes would include:

Fuel another good item for bartering
  • Batteries – These can be AA and AAA batteries as these are used for a large number of purposes. By buying a large package of these and storing them well, you can barter individual units in exchange for other items.
  • Candles, matches, and lighters – When disaster strikes, the first thing that will go out will be the power grid. Also, if you have to shift to a bug out shelter, you may not have electricity there. So, it is prudent to have a stock of candles, matches, and lighters. You can even use these items, particularly waterproof matches and lighters, to start campfires for cooking and water purification. Hence, having an inventory of these items will put you in a position of power!
  • Fuel – When the grid is down, everything that you could once do with electricity will now need to be worked in a old-fashioned way. So whether it is wood for the fire or gas for the stove, people’s demand for these things will increase. Similarly, the demand for gasoline for vehicles will also increase exponentially. Having these items during a disaster will make you the king of the land!
  • Soaps – Whether it is a bar, a gel or a liquid soap, in times of disasters, people will try their hardest to follow their daily routine to give them some semblance of control over their lives. Even if it’s jumping into a shallow creek to clean themselves, there will be a demand for soap, making it a valuable bartering item.
  • Shampoos – Just like soaps, shampoos too will be in high demand. People will want to maintain their everyday hygiene even during a disaster. So pile up sachets and bottles of shampoos that you can barter for things that you really need.
  • Guns & ammo – Some people do not have this in their home but they will soon realize they made a drastic mistake when police services break down and 911 calls go unanswered. If you have extra guns and ammo, if there is such a thing, you should be able to trade this for food, clothing, and water and so on. Nothing wrong with having a bullet proof vest and night vision as well.


Given that the possibility of a disaster taking place in the near future is quite high, you should start to prepare right away. Finding you are unable to cope with the situation later will not help. By getting your hands on these survival items and stockpiling them for the future, you should manage to make it out of any catastrophe that comes your way. Just make sure you keep a close watch on the expiration dates and keep replenishing the items that go past their use-by dates.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top